March 16, 2010

Protesting King Philip's War game

In response to King Philip's War the Game, Julianne Jennings writes:I am organizing a protest Saturday, noon, on the corners of S. Main Street and Old Crawford Street, Downtown Providence, near Hemmingways Restaurant (the spot where Narragansett prisoners of war were sent out of the colony and sold as slaves) to stop the manufacturing of the King Philip's War Game. Let's stop making tragedy fun!Jennings talks more about the rally's goals:We need to engage in the decolonization of American classrooms. Teachers and their students should have a wholly accurate portrayal of our history so they can be allowed to critically think for themselves about the history and culture of the First people, otherwise, myths and stereotypes prevail. Current issues affecting Native America will continue to be swept under the rug if people don't understand the facts before making a determination. For example, many people do not know that Indians in southern New England were sold as slaves. As early as 1638, Gov. John Winthrop writes in his journal that Africans were being imported into the New England colonies. This gave rise to communities of color. Most take this blood mixing as a dilution of culture, when in fact we always identifed ourselves by our communities...can a game offer that kind of information! ... If we do not advocate for creating new curiculum, we will be lost to history by the swipe of a pen, better yet a game!And:For those who will be attending, Gathering of the Nations (that's what I am calling it), boycotting the King Philip's War Game on Saturday, keep in mind we are also advocating for the creation of region-specific curiculum development that includes Native American scholars.Comment:  I'm glad to say that I brought the game to Jennings's attention. She might've found out about it anyway, but that's my role: getting people the information they need to act. This is 21st-century journalism: not only reporting the news, but disseminating and participating in it.

Jennings has taken the info and run with it. This protest will be an impressive display of outrage against the game. I trust something good will come of it.

The rally's goals

I'm glad to see the rally has broader goals than simply protesting the game. If that were all it was about, I'd say it would be overkill. The game is still in pre-production mode, awaiting enough orders to make it viable. It hasn't misinformed or misled anyone yet. A letter-writing and blogging campaign would be enough to get it shut down.

But the broader goals make the rally worthwhile. Raising awareness of Indians' continued existence. And the multiracial and multicultural nature of this existence, especially on the East Coast. Stumping for more Native culture and history in schools and better coverage in the media. Etc.

Ironically, the game developer said he wanted to do King Philip's War because few people know about it. Good idea, but the game isn't necessary for that. People should learns about all the wars we've fought, including the illegal and immoral ones, in school. If the only history Americans know is Columbus, the Pilgrims, and the Founding Fathers, that's a problem.

In short, we need more activism like this. More activism about the real economic and social issues affecting Americans, not the irrational rantings of teabaggers. In other words, more activism about class and race, not more racist activism.

P.S. As usual, I've cleaned up the spelling and punctuation a little to make the comments more readable.